Becoming a PA: Salaries, Trends, and Growth Outlook

For those considering a career in healthcare, it has never been a better time to become a PA. Salaries are climbing, opportunities are increasing, and the job outlook for the next decade far exceeds the national average for other career choices

In their annual ranking of the “100 Best Jobs” in America, U.S. News & World Report ranks Physician Assistant as the #1 job in 2021.

There are a variety of reasons that students who are looking to go into the healthcare field are making the PA choice. The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) lists nine specific contributing factors that make this career choice so popular . . .

Versatility, work/life balance, competitive salary, length of education, ability to give back to the community, relationship with patients, team-based care, continuing education, and the expanding job market.

If you are considering a career as a PA, here is some information regarding salaries, trends, and growth outlook as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • The median salary for PAs in 2020 was $115,390 per year ($55.48 per hour). The lowest 10 percent of PAs earned less than $76,700, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $162,470.
  • Median PA salaries by industries: Outpatient Care Centers ($124,610), Hospitals ($118,600), Employment Services ($115,780), Physician Offices ($113,460), Educational Services ($110,770).
  • The five top paying states for PAs are: 1) Alaska ($150,430) 2) Connecticut ($146,110) 3) Rhode Island ($135,800) 4) California ($135,180) and 5) Nevada ($134,710)
  • There were a total of 125,500 PA jobs in 2019. That number is projected to increase to 164,800 by the year 2029. This is a 31% job outlook increase.
  • The five states with the highest number of PA jobs are: 1) New York (13,760) 2) California (11,490) 3) Texas (8,990) 4) Florida (7,310) and 5) Pennsylvania (7,300)
  • The largest employers of PAs are physicians’ offices, hospitals, outpatient care centers, educational services, and employment services. 54% of PAs work in physicians’ offices, 26% of PAs work in hospitals, 8% of PAs work in educational services, and 1% of PAs work in employment services.

As you can see, the PA profession is a great career choice for students looking to go into medicine. But it’s not just the salary, growth trends, and job outlook that make this a wise career choice. New technology, burgeoning responsibilities, increased collaboration, and a healthier work/life balance continue to make this one of the best careers in America.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Physician Assistants, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physician-assitants.htm


Are you a PA student beginning to prepare for an end of rotation or PANCE® exam? If so, check out UWorld’s comprehensive online learning tool to prepare for your high-stakes exams. Our challenging questions, in-depth explanations, and performance tracking features will have you ready for success on exam day. Start your FREE trial today.

Scroll to Top